Privilege of being Unhappy by Misha Lyuve

May 25, 2013

Today I woke up feeling unhappy. I identified at least three reasons that would explain this phenomenon: I had a difficult week at work; I wasn’t anywhere close to where I wanted to be in respect to the $1,000,000 fundraising goal for Worldwide Orphans; I haven’t written a blog posting in four weeks.

In my introspection it became clear that there was no one else to blame for any of these things. I am the one chasing career aspirations that come with their setbacks and rewards; I am the one who came up with the $1,000,000 goal; I am the one who had started the blog and created the expectation to write weekly or at most with a two-week interval.

Like many of you, I see my life in the context of the “pursuit of happiness” (“I was looking for happiness with persistent aggressiveness”), a right specifically mentioned in the United States’ Declaration of Independence. But apparently the things that I am doing in the pursuit of my happiness were not making me happy. At least not this morning. Which started all this inner deliberation.

What is that we pursue? What we want and what we think is possible for us to have – but most importantly we pursue what we don’t have. In other words, pursuit of happiness can’t exist without the underlying idea that happiness is not already here and has to be found. Does it imply that we are innately “un-happy”? Does it mean that unhappiness was inadvertently written down into the Declaration of Independence? Is this pursuit a trap?

Most likely.

Let’s note here that not everyone has an equal access to this pursuit. If you don’t have enough food to feed yourself and your family; if bombs and gunshots ravage your neighborhood; if you are being persecuted for your beliefs or being who you are – survival supersedes any considerations for happiness. And unhappiness for that matter.

Those of us who have a choice for pursuit of happiness, often take it for granted. And in reality, something that was declared as a right by the New World is more of a privilege. And in the way the back of your hand is inseparable from your palm, your privilege to pursue happiness comes with the privilege of being unhappy. Let’s embrace both.

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  1. Raj

    Very touching and blissful.